Professor Park Nobel publishes fifth edition of his 50-year plant physiology series

Fifty years ago, UCLA plant physiological ecologist Park Nobel published “Plant Cell Physiology: A Physiochemical Approach,” which was the first book in his plant physiology series. Now he and Academic Press have published the fifth edition of “Physicochemical and Environmental Plant Physiology” — and it’s the most comprehensive one yet. It features more than 650 pages, cites hundreds of studies and weighs a hefty 3 pounds.

The world’s leading authority on the environmental biology of agaves and cacti, Nobel notes there aren’t many 50-year book series in the sciences.

A distinguished professor emeritus of ecology and evolutionary biology, Nobel said his new publication is “rather erudite and technical,” describes the “physical and chemical principles underlying plant physiological processes, and provides the suitable equations and solutions for each topic, with extensive appendices.”

The chapters follow his career — from the green subcellular components responsible for photosynthesis, called chloroplasts, to the many ways the environment interacts with plants — and conclude with the responses to global climate change.

He argues that global climate change will dramatically increase the land in which agaves and prickly pear cacti can thrive. According to Nobel, these heat lovers are ideally suited for global warming because of their high heat tolerance, low water needs and ability to sequester carbon dioxide.

Nobel said he draws on “wisdom obtained from teaching for 40 years at UCLA and carefully responding to students’ questions.” He adds: “Whenever I got an interesting or important question during a lecture, I immediately made a notation in my lecture notes. After the lecture, I then thought more about the question, often preparing a change for clarification or a comment to be included in the next book.”

In addition to the book series, Nobel is the author of more than 370 scientific articles as well as the general-interest book “Desert Wisdom/Agaves and Cacti: CO2, Water, Climate Change” (iUniverse).

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